Policy Update Week of
May 28, 2012
Comments on Stewardship Contracting submitted to the House Agriculture Committee - May 25th
The Society of American Foresters was one of over ninety organizations to sign a letter delivered to the House Agriculture Committee asking for permanent reauthorization of Stewardship Contracting through the House draft 2012 Farm Bill, which is expected to be released in the coming month.
To see the full Stewardship Contracting letter to House Ag, click here: http://eforester.org/fp/documents/Stewardship_Contracting_Letter_5-25-12.pdf
"Examining the Effects of Responsible Forest Management on Watershed Health" Technical Symposium Videos Now Available Online - May 29th
The symposium, co-hosted by SAF, the American Forest Foundation, the Environmental Law Institute, the National Alliance of Forest Owners, Plum Creek, the US Forest Service, and Southern Lumber Manufacturers Association, featured keynote speaker Honorable Benjamin H. Grumbles (President, Clean Water America Alliance), and administrative, legal, and scientific panels in exploring forest connections to the Clean Water Act. Videos of each of the panels, along with the keynote address, can be found on the SAF policy website: http://www.safnet.org/fp/ts_videos.cfm
SAF CEO Michael Goergen, Jr. Testifies Before House Agriculture Committee - May 18th.
Executive Vice-President and CEO Michael Goergen, Jr. testified on behalf of the Society of American Foresters at the House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the development of the Energy and Forestry Titles of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (Farm Bill). Mr. Goergen spoke of the need to permanently reauthorize the Stewardship Contracting Authority within the 2012 Farm Bill as the tool will expire in 2013. Mr. Goergen also talked to the devastation that we continue to see in the West due to the current bark beetle epidemic and why actions should be taken to manage the extensive forest mortality. Other panelists included: Mr. John Burke, III, American Forest Foundation; Mr. C. Randy Dye, National Association of State Foresters; Mr. Charles A. Holmes, National Association of Conservation Districts; and Mr. Richard Schwab, American Loggers Council and Southeastern Wood Producers Association. For more information on the hearing, visit http://www.safnet.org/documents/Goergen_testimony_May2012.pdf
A video of Michael Goergen's testimony can be found here
The SAF Task Force Report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy" is available to read online.
To read the Task Force Report link to: http://www.safnet.org/documents/JOFSupplement.pdf
In the Administration
- Forest Service Considers Tweaking Cave-Access Policies to Protect Western Bats
Summit County Voice, Published by Bob Berwyn, June 3rdThe U.S. Forest Service is considering some changes to the way it manages caves on national forest lands to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome, a disease that has wiped out millions of bats in the eastern U.S. in the past few years. In the northern Rockies, (Region 1) the agency is leaning toward a permit system that would require cave visitors to register and agree to certain conditions aimed protecting bats from the disease and gaining information on bat populations at the same time, according to Forest Service wildlife biologist Kristi Swisher. She said the final decision is up to a new incoming regional forester, slated to take over the region in the next few weeks. The "closure with permitted entry" regulation would encompass an existing national rule requiring decontamination procedures, along with a bat survey to help land managers learn more about bat populations. To read more of this article, please visit this link.
This Week in Congress
- May 31st - Representative Glen Thompson (R-PA) along with 28 cosponsors introduced the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2012 to include forest products in the definition of biobased products. For more information or to read the entire text, please visit this link.
Upcoming in Congress
- TBD - Farm Bill passes Committee, heads to Senate floor. The bill makes major reforms to agricultural policy, eliminates direct payments, streamlines and consolidates programs, and reduces the deficit by $23 billion. For more information about the 2012 Farm Bill, including summaries and legislative text, please visit this link.
- June 8th - House Committee on Natural Resources Hearing entitled "Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3641, H.R. 3894, H.R. 4606, H.R. 5544 and H.R. 5791." To read more about this hearing please visit this link.
- June 7th - House Committee on Natural Resources "Markup on H.R. 3210, H.R. 3685 and H.R. 4171." To read more about this markup please visit this link.
- June 6th - House Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing entitled "EPA Enforcement Priorities and Practices." To read more about this hearing please visit this link.
- June 6th - House Committee on Appropriations "Markup - FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill." To read more about this markup please visit this link.
- June 6th - House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Hearing entitled "EPA's Impact on Jobs and Energy Affordability: Understanding the Real Costs and Benefits of Environmental Regulations." To read more about this hearing please visit this link.
- LEED 2012 Postponed to 2013, Renamed LEED v4
Environmental Building News, Published by Nadav Malin, June 4thIn a surprise move, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today that it is postponing plans to ballot the next version of LEED until as late as June 2013. With this announcement, USGBC promises to keep LEED 2009 available for a full three years from now, although it intends to gradually ramp up incentives for teams to move to the new version of LEED during that time. The move came in response to a growing outcry from architects and other building industry professionals-including many who have been core supporters of LEED since its inception-who had three related concerns. To read more of this article, please visit this link.
For more information on LEED and to see the letter entitled: "Important News About LEED 2012: A Message from Rick Fedrizzi" Please visit this link.
SAF comments on the third LEED draft can be found here: http://www.safnet.org/documents/saf_leed_comments.pdf
- Senator sees need for Permanent Timber Policies Fix
The Observer, Published by Bill Rautenstrauch, June 1stU.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley stopped in La Grande on his way to Wallowa County on Wednesday, meeting with the Observer's editorial board and making comments on issues of local and national importance. Merkley (D-Portland) said he and colleagues including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Portland) and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) continue the fight for an extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. The bill, also known as the county payments bill, is due to sunset, taking away large chunks of federal revenue from timber-dependent counties. Union County, for example, would lose about $650,000 of funds for roads and schools this year if the bill is not renewed. Merkley said he and others have managed to get an amendment extending county payments into the federal transportation bill now being considered for passage. He said the extension represents a "bridge to next year." To read more of this article, please visit this link.
- Wyden: More Air Tankers Needed
Ashland Daily Tidings, Published by Paul Fittig, May 30thU.S. Sen. Ron Wyden intends to hold the U.S. Forest Service's feet to the fire in an effort to increase its fleet of large air tankers under contract."The forest fires are getting bigger and the air tanker fleet is getting smaller," said Wyden, D-Ore., during a news conference Tuesday morning at the Medford air tanker base. "That has left us with some enormous challenges. We've already seen some big fires in Arizona and Colorado."Despite the enormity of all this, the agency that is most responsible for fighting them, the Forest Service, has allowed the air tanker fleet to shrink," he said. The agency had 44 large air tankers under contract in 2006 but now has only 11, said Wyden, chairman of the Senate Forestry Committee. "And 10 of those average 50 years of age," Wyden added. "So we have some of these planes are getting to the point where they belong in museums rather than the sky." To read more of this article, please visit this link.
- Government Lines Up $1.4 billion for Conservation Property Purchases
Human Events, Published by Audrey Hudson, May 29thControversial legislation tucked into a contentious highway-funding bill gives state and federal governments $1.4 billion to buy private property for new conservation efforts and adds even more inventory to the nation's 635 million acre holding. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, says this two-year funding mechanism for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is "particularly egregious" because the government doesn't have billions of dollars needed to care for the vast holdings."The mandatory buying of more land under LWCF is a fiscal dereliction of duty-especially since the government can't afford to maintain the lands it already owns," Hastings said. To read more of this article please visit this link.
In the States: Nevada and Oregon
- Forest Service moves Logging for Rare Bird, Still Criticized
Reno Gazette-Journal, Published by Scott Sonner, June 3rdU.S. Forest Service officials have agreed to move post-fire logging operations at Lake Tahoe farther away from nests with rare, black-backed woodpecker chicks at the request of conservationists who've been fighting the overall project for years. But John Muir Project members - who have documented one nest in the path of the logging and suspect there are more - say the no-cut buffers the agency is implementing are far too small to protect one of the rarest birds in the Sierra Nevada. "No credible black-backed woodpecker scientist would say it is enough - not even close," said Chad Hanson, a wildlife ecologist and executive director of the group who has filed a petition seeking protection of the bird under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. To read more of this article, please visit this link.
- Logging in Oregon State Forests Harms Protected Marbled Murrelets, Lawsuit Says
The Oregonian, Published by Scott Learn, May 31stThree conservation groups sued Gov. John Kitzhaber and Oregon agencies today in federal court, charging that logging in three Coast Range state forests is killing or displacing protected marbled murrelets. The lawsuit requests an injunction to halt logging -- including a host of currently planned sales -- that could threaten the rare seabirds in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott state forests until the state gets an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Audubon Society of Portland filed the suit. West Coast populations of marbled murrelets have declined because of logging, the groups say. A 2009 status review estimated that the population dropped to 18,000 birds in 2008, a 26 percent decline from 2002. To read more of this article, please visit this link.
Last Week in Congress
- May 21st - Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Field Hearing on "Failed Federal Forest Policies: Endangering Jobs, Forests and Species" To read more about this hearing please visit this link.
- There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.
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